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Old 06-02-2013, 10:05 AM   #16
snowwite
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I just wanted to share a couple of ideas. I'm not sure where you will be staying but if you get a chance to go to Mayfair near the US embassy and Hyde Park check out the Audley pub. We had several meals there during a 3 day visit. There are lots of cute shops and coffee places etc there. We pretty much stuck to places which did not appear to be chain restaurants or tourist traps. We stayed in Mayfair and walked to Buckingham palace, the parks and up to Westminster area. Across from Westminster there is a boat dock with multiple boat rides which were quite reasonable. we took one o Greenwich. The driver gave an excellent commentary as we went down the Thames. There is a maritime museum, shops, the Cutty Sark ship etc there. It is where time begins. We took the tube back. We got Oyster cards ahead of time online but you can get at airport or train station. There was a quicker train from airport to Paddington Station and we walked to hotel from there. The airport is outside city much like JFK is outside NYC.
A few stops you may want to add in:
Harrods dept store-it makes Macy's look like the dollar store. There is so much to see it was amazing. There are restaurants inside and there is a memorial to Princess Diana and her boyfriend.
Trafalgar square and the national gallery. It's close to the theatre district and free.
Tower of London. It was really interesting to tour the place. There are costumes guides but we were on a tight schedule and just did a self guided tour.
Baker Street. Even the tube sign looks like Sherlock Holmes.
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Old 06-02-2013, 02:02 PM   #17
DisneyNurse19
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But if you choose the Shard, make sure you pre-book. We went past it on Saturday last and there was no availability unless you wanted to pay £100 per person! Much as I'd love to go to the viewing floor, I'm not paying that. To pre-book, I think it is £25.00 per person.

Pam
Yes it is, we went at 7pm (there were plenty of tickets to buy at this time) in April and it was a perfect time to go We saw the whole of London in the light and then all lit up in the dark, we finally came down at 8.45pm. I am sure once people get to know about it the queue's will be bad.
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Old 06-03-2013, 10:54 AM   #18
pampat
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Yes it is, we went at 7pm (there were plenty of tickets to buy at this time) in April and it was a perfect time to go We saw the whole of London in the light and then all lit up in the dark, we finally came down at 8.45pm. I am sure once people get to know about it the queue's will be bad.
I know you go up on timed sessions, but are you restricted to staying there for a set amount of time? So could you go up and stay for an hour or so to see the sun go down and the lights come up? You've all whetted my appetite for this!

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Old 06-03-2013, 04:10 PM   #19
DisneyNurse19
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I know you go up on timed sessions, but are you restricted to staying there for a set amount of time? So could you go up and stay for an hour or so to see the sun go down and the lights come up? You've all whetted my appetite for this!

Pam
At the moment you can stay up there as long as you like but i am sure if it gets really busy this might change .
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:07 AM   #20
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Thanks, great info.

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Old 06-05-2013, 04:49 PM   #21
runskyhy
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Not a local, but we just returned from vacation there last week. Such a fantastic city and country! Here’s what we liked…

Food: There is a fun, little ‘alley’ about one block east of Selfridge’s off of Oxford St. called St. Christopher’s Place that is filled with eateries of all kinds. There is also Covent Garden Markets: the aisle between the Apple Market & the Jubilee Market is a sunken food-court area with a variety of excellent places to eat. There are performers all around the market and shopping of all types – souvenirs, local wares, food, etc. (We visited this market, as well as the Greenwich Market, Borough Market, & the Lower Marsh Food Market while we were there, and this was my favorite.) Also, Pret A Manger is a chain of eateries with a wide variety of great grab-and-go breakfast food (they seems to be located everywhere) and finally, we had an excellent Italian meal at Giotto on 52-54 New Oxford Street, just a few blocks south of the British Museum.

Attractions: The Ceremony of the Keys is a great experience, but we also love visiting the Tower of London during the day, as well. There is just so much to see there. Both Westminster Abbey & London Eye are excellent, too. You can cross the Westminster Bridge by foot to get from one to the other and get some fantastic views of the Parliament building (& Big Ben) along the way. We did this almost by accident (along with some fun wanderings around Waterloo) and had such an awesome time! We did not buy tickets in advance for anything because we didn’t want to be tied down to a schedule, but I did make sure we arrived at the most popular attractions (specifically, the London Eye, Tower of London, & Westminster Abbey, at opening time and we never had more than a 5-minute wait for tickets. Schools were on break last week, too.)

Transportation: We used an Oyster card purchased at Heathrow to get everywhere we needed to go in the city and used it for the Underground, the double-decker buses, and the Dockside Light Rail. The Oyster website has a great section for visitors to determine the best fare option during one’s visit. I found it is important to stand to the right going up & down Underground escalators (so climbers can pass) and there is no such thing as personal-space on the subway trains during rush-hour, but everyone was always extremely patient, courteous, and very, very quiet.

Tours: We took one 2-hour walking tour with London Walks – no reservations necessary, just show up to the start location and pay the guide 9 pounds per person. It was a nice overview of the area, a friendly crowd, and the guide, Katie (also the daughter of the owner of the company) was awesome. They also offer private tours, but we didn’t look into any of those. The company has a good selection of tours each day, and the list is available as a PDF on their website.

City Guide Books: We bought several of them beforehand – Rick Steve’s, Fodor’s, & DK Eyewitness, and I liked DK Eyewitness the best. In addition to listing attractions & restaurants by area, it also offered walking routes to see the best of each area. We also picked up the laminated Streetwise London map before we went, which I originally thought would be a waste of money (because of all the free ones available for printing on-line.) Well, it had a lot more city streets listed on it than all the other maps we had, and it was not as large, so it was easy to access, but also easy to read. We both used it regularly. (I didn’t carry it around open in front of me though – usually referencing it before we headed off to the next place… we tried not to be THAT obvious about needing it.) :-P

Have a fantastic vacation in Scotland and London!
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:28 PM   #22
dabootie
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Transportation: We used an Oyster card purchased at Heathrow to get everywhere we needed to go in the city and used it for the Underground, the double-decker buses, and the Dockside Light Rail. The Oyster website has a great section for visitors to determine the best fare option during one’s visit. I found it is important to stand to the right going up & down Underground escalators (so climbers can pass) and there is no such thing as personal-space on the subway trains during rush-hour, but everyone was always extremely patient, courteous, and very, very quiet.
Lol, as a Brit that lived briefly in the US I was amused when my American room-mate told me that it was only when she visited Europe that she realized how loud Americans actually are. We Brits have always jokingly referred to Americans as 'loud Yanks' but I was surprised to learn how embarassed she had been.

I work in London and see lots of tourists on a daily basis as I work in a large railway station, which incidentally is the location of some of the scenes from Harry Potter....not the station mentioned in the books....that's next door, our station was where the scenes were actually filmed!
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